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Pinewood Puts Limit on AP Classes



   In an effort to reduce student stress, Pinewood administrators have set a new cap on advanced placement (AP) classes. AP classes are known for their intense work loads. Combined with college applications, many seniors find themselves overloaded in essays, tests, and homework. Other schools are considering
similar caps.

   Starting next year, juniors will only be allowed to take four AP classes, and seniors will be able to take up to five. Principal Mark Gardner does not see this as a potential issue for seniors next year. In fact, he doesn’t believe it will make a large effect on the stress levels of the grade as a whole.

   “There were only four students as seniors who had six [APs] out of a class of 50, and they would be the ones affected,” Gardner said.

   On the other hand, some believe that the cap will negatively affect the student body.

   “I’m concerned it’s going to have the opposite effect of encouraging kids to feel that they have to take that many,” AP chemistry teacher Sabra Abraham said.

   Junior Ethan Bair similarly believes that it may affect the way colleges view student’s transcripts.

   “Schools will be looking for kids to take the most that they can; they feel since the cap is at five, they have to take that many,” Bair said.

   This view suggests that students will feel pressured to meet the cap instead of take the amount of APs they freely please. Even if they weren’t to take more than five APs, many would want to have a say in the change or at least some foresight into its occurrence.

   “I think that is a good idea for a school, but not for Pinewood right now. At least if they instate it, they should  grandfather the older kids out,” junior Matt Kuo said.

   Kuo also feels that the faculty should have consulted the rest of the Pinewood community before creating a policy which affects the whole student body.

   “I think it’s really unfair that they are just switching, and that they didn’t ask any students. The teachers are on board and all that, but they didn’t talk with the students or parents,” Kuo said.

   College counselor Robin Acosta believes that, in the end, the cap will give students the time to enjoy activities outside of the classroom that interest them, as it gives them the opportunity to be more than just a student. This then allows them to be both less stressed and more appealing in the eyes of  college admissions officers, as they will be seen as a whole person, not only an
academic record.

   “Taking eight AP classes your senior year instead of taking six AP classes is not going to make a difference to an admissions officer. They’re much more interested in the life of the mind and the quality of the work that students are doing,” former Tufts admissions officer Peter Jennings said, in a 2012 interview with the
Boston Globe.

   In the middle of all this debate over the fairness of the AP cap, Acosta also urges students to remember that everyone at Pinewood will go to college, and that AP classes are not the most important aspect of
your resume.

   “All our Pinewood students go to great colleges, so hopefully they won’t feel that they have to overburden themselves by taking [an AP class], and will seek more of a balance. If you are not an AP or honors type of kid, try to push yourself towards an honors class; you don’t have to take the AP classes. What colleges want to see is that you’re always challenging yourself,”
Acosta said.